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DISCRIMINANT is the name given to the expression,that appears under the root (radical) sign in quadratic formula.

it will determine whether or not the roots are real or imaginary

when:

b² - 4ac > 0, roots are real and unequal

b² - 4ac < 0, roots are complex

b² - 4ac = 0, roots are real and equal

b² - 4ac < 0 and b=0, roots are purely imaginary